Bénédictine abandons overtime shock with East Tech – News-Herald


By Jay Kron

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A talented but young team usually means two things are likely to happen in most game situations.

Brilliant flashes and maddening error streaks that will drive a trainer crazy.

Benedictine showcased the two traits in a savage, back-and-forth, turn-over-filled battle with East Tech’s visit to Trueman Field House on January 4.

The Bengals were electric, opening a tight game with a 13-2 dominant streak and taking a 50-36 lead late in the third quarter.

But the Scarabs turned the tide with a 26-point fourth frame to send the game into overtime, where they outlasted the host Bengals to claim a 69-67 victory, their first of the season.

Devonte Green led East Tech with a record 30 points, seven rebounds and five steals. Malike Bennett, who was perhaps the smallest player on the pitch, was a thorn in Benedictine’s side in the fourth quarter and in overtime, when he scored 10 of his 13 points, most of them in transition.

Robert Guins had 10 points and blocked five shots for East Tech, which improved to 1-4.

“I talked to these guys about fighting hard, staying strong and finishing,” said East Tech coach Terrance Owens. “We struggled a bit at the start of the season, but we were in a few games.

“I told them, now is the time to see what we can do if we really put in an effort to win a basketball game.”

Benedictine (3-5) scored four double-digit players, led by George Henderson, 6-foot-6, who tallied 15 points. Joe Watts added 13, Ty’Lan King had 12, and Kris Smith added 11.

The Bengals were 7-0 behind at the start, but fought back and took a 12-11 lead over a King Trey.

A setback from Watts put Benedictine back in the lead, 15-14, to start the second quarter, and a Marvin Conkle and-one gave the Bengals a 29-24 halftime lead.

Benedictine put a smile on the face of coach Chris Salata with his 13-2 run to close the third frame, fueled by seven points by Watts and capped by a 3 by Smith to make it 50-36 into the final frame.

East Tech wasn’t about to wrap it up, however. The Scarabs were successful throughout the game getting interceptions and turning them into points, and they increased the defensive pressure in the final quarter to reduce their deficit and then move forward, 62-57, in the last few minutes.

The Bengals held a mini-rally in the last minute, scoring on a Smith jumper, Henderson’s free throw and King’s bucket to send the game into the extra session.

In overtime, Green’s last basket gave the Scarabs a 67-65 lead, then Bennett, after his seventh steal of the game, found Maurice Banks cutting to the basket for a 69-65 lead.

Watts scored with six seconds left to bring the score to 69-67, then stole the incoming pass, but two Bengal shots were out of place before the bells rang.

“Big stretches for us – we had that 14 point lead going into the fourth quarter,” said Salata, in his first season as a Benedictine coach. “The kids finished the third formidable, running offensively and getting the shots we wanted.

“But we have to learn to finish the games. It’s a young team, and we have to live these experiences in order to be ready for them in the future.

The Benedictines shot 38% (26 out of 68) to 48% (27 out of 56) for the Scarabs. The Bengals were 7 of 30 on 3-point attempts and 8 of 14 from the line.

Although they were able to force 20 turnovers, Benedictine did so 29 times himself, including seven times during the critical fourth quarter and overtime.

“You just have to be stronger with the ball,” Salata said of his team’s mistakes. “A bunch of turnovers on defensive rebounds for us, where we worked really hard on the defensive end and got a great save, grabbed the board and just handed it over.

“A big part of that is being more physically mature, and we’ll get to that over time in the weight room. A lot of it is about learning to play with balance and understanding what to do on both sides of the floor. “

Benedictine has two next road games, in Akron Hoban on January 7 and Tuscawaras Central Catholic on January 8.

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